Shell OA Week

After finishing their exams all 172 members of the Shell took a well-earned break from academic work to get involved in a week of equally strenuous outdoor activities. they gathered to depart on Sunday 9th June at the Parade Ground along with Beaks and OA instructors. The mood amongst the students was one of anticipation and excitement mixed with apprehension about the challenges that lay ahead. The aim of the week was to challenge them in unfamiliar conditions outside the classroom.

For twelve Houses the setting for this experience was the Brecon Beacons with Preshute going to Snowdonia National Park, Summerfield chartering two yachts on the south coast and Barton Hill travelling to the Gower Peninsula. A comprehensive programme of activities including caving, climbing, gorge walking and canoeing was undertaken. Students were supported and encouraged by trusted local specialist instructors who showed remarkable energy and enthusiasm throughout the week. Possibly their greatest challenge was the bunkhouse accommodation where not only were they expected to cook, clean and tidy for themselves but also to spend the week without electronic devices!

A two-day expedition covering up to 30 kilometres with heavy rucksacks was a gruelling challenge for staff and students alike. Despite a couple of Houses getting blown off the mountain in the middle of the night, with the help of their experienced and professional guides they all made it home safely and it certainly provided a massive sense of achievement for each of the House groups.

Without the hard work of a huge number of people this week would not be possible. Mr Tong in particular must be commended for his outstanding organisation and administration of the week, together with his team of OA instructors. The Beaks who supported Shell OA Week swapped a normal school week for one of greater intensity and involvement and their time was very much appreciated. Finally, the pupils themselves should be very proud of their unwavering and wholehearted attitude to the week. Pupils in the Upper Sixth often cite Shell OA week as one of their fondest memories of their time at Marlborough College; I know this Shell year group will progress through the school knowing a little bit more about themselves and being stronger for it.

SJD

To see a gallery of images from OA Week, follow this link.

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